INABILITY to obtain Customs Duty Waiver from the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) may have caused the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) over a hundred million naira and six months’ delay at the Lagos sea port for imported safety critical navigation equipment.
The equipment worth about a billion naira (N1bn) was at the seaport for about six months but was eventually cleared and deployed in the last quarter of 2019, according to NAMA’s Managing Director, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu.
Lack of that inter-agency collaboration may have been the reason for the delay as NAMA was promised it would get a waiver for the equipment as a government agency.
For this reason, NAMA was asked not to include clearance fees in the 2018 budget and was assured that as a government agency the equipment would be granted waiver, that did not happen.
Akinkuotu said NAMA as a government agency, had applied for customs duty waiver to clear the critical safety equipment, but the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), declined the request, despite the duty waivers granted the aviation industry by the Federal Government.
He said the automation equipment was installed in Lagos, Jos and Ilorin airports, adding that the agency was gradually upgrading the facilities at the nation’s airports and stations.
Akinkuotu said: “The equipment was at the seaport for some few months because of issues of customs duty, application for duty waiver and others, but we have cleared them and they have already been installed.
“We didn’t get waivers for the equipment and we paid about hundreds of millions of naira for the clearance. The waiver request was not approved. They are part of the automation project.
“They are mobile potable cabins that contain the one-stop Aeronautical Information Service (AIS).
It would be recalled that efforts to get customs duty waiver for the equipment failed and NAMA raised the fear that the equipment may rust and become obsolete at the seaport if not cleared immediately.
NAMA had said at the time: “Clearing of these goods and paying customs duties cost hundreds of millions because these are very expensive equipment, we must find funds for doing this clearance and it must be done urgently because the equipment cannot remain in the ports at the risk of bad weather and anything could expire there and we will run the risk of starting all over again.”
According to NAMA, it was asked not to include the clearance fees for the equipment in 2018 budget and was assured that as a government agency the equipment would be granted waiver.
Akinkuotu emphasized that NAMA had installed the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) in Jos and Enugu airport in order to further improved the radio network in those areas of the country.
On the inclement weather, the NAMA boss assured that the agency would continue to install more Instrument Landing Systems (ILSs) at airports and stations while any navigation aids that required calibration, would be done as at when due, saying that this would further improve service delivery to its clients.